Saturday, June 04, 2005
The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary  

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Scriptural basis for devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is beautiful and profound. Primarily, it is St. Luke who wanting "to write an orderly account" (1:3) concerning the faith has given us the picture of our Lady's heart.

First, near the conclusion of the account of the nativity of our Lord (2:1-20), St. Luke writes, "But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." (2:19) Surely, she meditates upon all that has happened to her surrounding the birth of her child. From the angel Gabriel's announcement to her that she, as a Virgin, would give birth to the Messiah (1:26-38) to her visit with her cousin Elizabeth who declares that Mary is the mother of God when she hears Mary's greeting to her (1:39-56), there is much upon which she could ponder. Now, she has been providentially brought to the city of David to give birth to her precious son in a cave. Shepherds make their way to this cave to declare that angels have told them about His birth, and they have come to see what the Lord had made known to them.

Through this pondering in her heart, Mary grew closer to God. Her meditation would only increase the awe she felt for the God who was so wonderfully working in her life. As St. Ambrose wrote, "Even though she was Mother of the Lord, she wanted to learn his precepts, She, who had given birth to God, desired to know God still better." (De virginibus, 2, 6-16)

The second reference to Mary's heart is at the conclusion of the narrative on St. Joseph and our Lady's finding of our Lord in the Temple (2:41-52). Here again, St. Luke records that "His mother kept all these things in her heart". (2:51) She meditates again on the ways of the Lord which have her search for Jesus for three days only to find Him in the Temple with the teachers. Jesus' reply to His mother as to why He has disappeared for three days, is fruit for her meditation. Because Jesus makes clear to His parents that their parental role is under His Heavenly Father's authority over Him. However, as their son, He is subject to them, and he demonstrates this by His obedience to them (2:51).

Perhaps the most important indirect reference to our Lady's heart is in the prophecy of Simeon recorded in the Presentation account of St. Luke's Gospel (2:22-39). Simeon announces to our Lady and St. Joseph that, "a sword will pierce through [Mary's] own soul, also" She, too, will know the suffering that her Son will experience. Surely, she meditated on the amazing word which were spoken to her by Simeon. Over the years, she must have wondered what the exact meaning was for a sword to pierce in her soul. It is only at Calvary that she would fully understand the depth of what was prophesied so many years prior.

Throughout all three of these passages, Mary is the person who is pondering the mysteries of God. She dwells upon how the Almighty is working in her life. She is an active participant in God's plan, yet she, too, must meditate on what the Lord is doing. She would also simply meditate on who He is that would be born of a Virgin. Consequently, it is easy to understand how devotion to our Lady's Immaculate Heart would begin and grow. St. Luke recorded how her heart focused on the work of the Lord. This devotion teaches us that, led by our Lady's example, we too, should ponder in our hearts the work of the Lord.

Posted by David at 7:00 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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